Today it’s February the 14th, a new international day against the violence that is aimed at women. Another date is November 25th, the UN’s international day against men’s violence against women. Women might be horrible and violent too. They might harass, ridicule, even hit and kill their partner, but in many cases when that happens it’s often a response on a long line of harassments, physical, mental and/or sexual abuse aimed at her from a man or several men close to her. Moreover most violence is performed by men. Even if a woman is nasty, and even if a couple quarrel on occasion, problems like these are anything but okay. Men might get violent if they feel sexually frustrated, if they feel neglected, laughed at, used only as an economic source by the woman or is cheated on, and both parties must contribute to a good relationship. But many times this kind of violence concerns the decline of male dominance and a frustration among too many of us men for this. All the same, abuse and deadly violence is never acceptable, neither by men nor by women. Both must be able to speak with each other to solve potential domestic problems and prevent it.
It’s tragic that such days should be needed, and we must never forget that this isn’t a phenomenon that only should be dealt with one or two days a year. In my next text today I will pinpoint the positive love between the sexes, since February the 14th also is S:t Valentine’s Day. In this piece though I will write about domestic violence, not to destroy the happiness of Happy Valentine, but rather contribute to a deeper awareness of the importance of a good relationship. According to the WHO men’s violence against women is a profound global problem. On November 25th 2009 I held a speech at Gustav Adolf Square here in Malmoe, and I will here qoute a few paragraphs:
“Every 20th minute a woman somewhere in Sweden is beaten. Consider that!! Every 20th minute! Every single case of violence against women here in Sweden costs the society millions of SKR. We can’t afford NOT to do something about it. Firstly we have the unaccountable psychological and physical suffering for every individual, which can’t be estimated to a sum of money. It concerns every single woman, irrespective of age or background, but also her loved ones and other people in her vicinity. Apart from the unfathomable suffering there are the more specific costs for medical treatment, medicines, maybe therapy, police, courts and jail. There are also the indirect costs for not being able to work for the victimized women when they are ill, imprisonment for the culprit, as well as insomnia, tiredness and a lowered productivity for the abused woman.
In 90% of the cases men are guilty, often someone close to the woman, and in almost all the cases alcohol has been an important, contributing factor to this violence. The alcohol affects our senses, and especially if we drink a lot. Many who think they can handle their drinking, can’t do that. This goes both for men and women. Threatened male dominance, exaggerated macho ideals are also very important contributing factors when men abuse, harass and kill women. Last year in 2008 28 300 cases of woman battering were reported to the police in our country, ca 80 cases each day. Furthermore, here in Sweden about 1 – 2 women each month are killed by a partner or a former partner”.
These were some of the things I said a little more than three years ago. The numbers given here above are almost identical compared to the most recent statistics from 2011. Then it was 28 000 reports. The number of reports though has risen from 22 000 in 2002 to about 28 000 in 2011. These are the figures for my country, and I suggest that if you live outside Sweden you ought to check out the UN figures or what the WHO has to say about it. What can we do about it? I am a man, and I think that we all have a responsibility to do what we can to prevent these crimes. From a Swedish and local perspective I can give you some addresses if you need help:
These are important issues. We all have to take a stand. We can’t take individual responsibility for every case, but we can do our own part in not abusing women. I know I will, I hope you will too.
Anders Moberg, February the 14th 2013